California Sun

Good morning. It's Thursday, May 27.

Sorrow and disbelief after mass shooting at San Jose rail yard.
Los Angeles mayor is expected to get Indian ambassadorship.
And scholar who faked being Cherokee teaches at UC Riverside.



Video games are taking off at California colleges. Since 2015, nearly all University of California campuses and at least six Cal States have added esports programs. Both Cal State Dominguez Hills and UC Irvine offer certificates in esports, which means students earn credit for, yes, playing video games. “Higher ed needs to evolve or die,” one professor explained. "We need to be teaching students relevant skills, that’s going to get them jobs in a rapidly changing landscape.” CalMatters


Santa Anita Park, the storied track near Los Angeles, has faced protests over animal cruelty.

Harry How/Getty Images

"The terrible parade of dead horses at Santa Anita in 2019 drove the sport into an identity crisis, and not just in California. I heard it when I talked to horse people in Florida, Maryland, New York, and especially bluegrass Kentucky, the industry’s headquarters: the defensiveness, the virtue signalling, the pleas for understanding — but we love our horses. The opponents of racing seemed increasingly confident that it would soon go the way of circus elephants, dolphin shows, dog racing, all the discredited animal entertainments."

Here's an excellent long read on the precarious future of an ancient sport. 👉 New Yorker


"Excuse me, is that apple for sale?"

"Yeah, we're about to put it on sale right now actually."

"Well, I'm in the market. So tell me about your apple. Why should I buy it?"

"Heh. Nice try."

This video by the comedian Shaun Johnson is a spot-on parody of what buying a home is like right now. 👉 @johnsonfiles


☝️ Emilio Godinez shared this fantastic picture of the total lunar eclipse over Sacramento early Wednesday morning. The combination image illustrates the moon's movement directly into earth's shadow, at which point it became bathed in the reddish glow of sunshine filtered through our atmosphere. The show was heightened by a simultaneous supermoon, when the moon is closest to earth, appearing bigger and brighter. The Mercury News has more photos from California and beyond.


Northern California


A man wept near the scene of a shooting at a Valley Transportation Authority facility in San Jose.

Randy Vazquez/Mercury News via Getty Images

"A horrific day for our city.”

Here's what's known about the mass shooting at a light rail yard in San Jose early Wednesday:

A lone gunman killed nine people, all of them employees of the Valley Transportation Authority, authorities said.
The shooter was identified as Samuel Cassidy, 57, a maintenance worker who knew the victims. He killed himself as law enforcement closed in, officials said.
The motive was uncertain, but Cassidy's ex-wife told the A.P. that he had a temper and wanted to kill people at work.

Gov. Gavin Newsom met with family members of victims before holding a news conference, where he gave voice to what many people were thinking. "What the hell is going on in the United States of America?" he said, visibly angry. "What the hell is wrong with us?" Mercury News | S.F. Chronicle | L.A. Times


A portrait began to emerge of Cassidy that is familiar to mass shooting experts. In a 2009 court filing, Cassidy's ex-girlfriend accused him of rape and sexual assault, often during violent "mood swings" fueled by alcohol. She added: "He also played several mind games which he seems to enjoy.” A Bloomberg analysis of 749 mass shooting events between 2014 and 2019 found that nearly 60% involved an aggressor prone to domestic violence. Mercury News | S.F. Chronicle


“There were 93 water trucks going past my home, in one direction, between 5:30 in the morning and 12 noon.”

In Siskiyou County, the proliferation of illegal marijuana cultivation has gotten so out of hand that the officials have adopted a novel approach to battling it: Barring the trucks that carry water to pot farms. Growers, most of whom are of Hmong or Chinese descent, have accused the county of racism. Sacramento Bee


William Gedney/Duke University Press

The photographer William Gedney arrived in San Francisco a year before 1967's Summer of Love. He made 2,100 pictures, which remained largely hidden away for half a century. Now Gedney's images have been resurrected in gallery showings and a new photography collection, "A Time of Youth." Critics have celebrated the work for capturing a side of San Francisco's exuberant hippie culture seldom represented: one of wistful melancholy. PROVOKR | Blind Magazine


Some visitors to Yosemite read summer novels in hammocks and roast marshmallows by a campfire. Others rig a rope to the top of 3,000-foot El Capitan and launch themselves over the valley. It's called the Porch Swing, and it's epic. The adventurer Steven Donovan won an award from GoPro last year for this terrifying video of his swing. 👉 YouTube (~1 min)


Southern California


Mayor Eric Garcetti could soon be off to India.

Gabriel Rossi/Getty Images

Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles is set to be tapped as the next ambassador to India, a source told the A.P. Five months ago, Garcetti, who harbors White House ambitions, said he turned down an unspecified job in the Biden administration because he had "urgent" work to attend to in Los Angeles. His departure for South Asia would come as Los Angeles grapples with an unyielding homelessness crisis. A.P. | L.A. Times


In April, Los Angeles opened a sanctioned tent encampment in a parking lot beside the 101 Freeway. But the cost is raising eyebrows: $2,663 per tent per month — more than the typical rent on a one-bedroom apartment. Shayla Myers, a housing advocate, made what seemed like a sensible point. "If you can paint lines on a sidewalk for the same cost that you can give someone the rent for an apartment," she said, referring to the lines marking tent spaces, "I'm concerned that our city is making the choice to paint the lines rather than actually get people into housing." NPR


Andrea Smith

Tom Zasadzinski/Cal Poly Pomona

Native American scholars have been calling out the ethnic fraud of Andrea Smith, a UC Riverside professor who has falsely claimed to be Cherokee, for 13 years. Yet she is still getting work as a Cherokee scholar, author, and activist. The N.Y. Times Magazine published a jaw-dropping account of white academics outed for pretending to be scholars of color, and how Smith simply forged ahead with the lie.


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The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.

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